Hostgator vs SiteGround: 4 Important Differences

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Hostgator and SiteGround are two behemoths in the industry. And according to Google’s search trends, the difference in the popularity of the two web hosts has been slowly disappearing as shown in this Hostgator vs SiteGround comparison chart:

Hostgator vs Siteground Trends over the past 5-years
Hostgator vs SiteGround trends

So, while Hostgator still holds an edge over SiteGround, they’re practically neck and neck. If you’re thinking of choosing between the two, here are 3 important differences between them.

Difference 1: Pricing and Discounts

While both SiteGround and Hostgator have deep discounts for their first billing cycle, Hostgator is much cheaper overall. And Hostgator has so many coupon codes, that SiteGround simply can’t keep up. Instead of coupon codes, SiteGround has flat discounts for the first billing cycle, going as low as 70% off for the GrowBig plan. But that’s it. SiteGround doesn’t have separate deals for the same plan, or upgrade coupons, or anything else.

Here’s a table showing the difference between the pricing and discounts of the starting packages:

Hostgator vs SiteGround Pricing Difference
Offer Price ($)Original Price ($)Discount (%)Coupon Link
Hostgator Hatchling$2.64/month$6.9571%
SiteGround StartUp$3.95/month$11.9567%Activate Link

SiteGround is also a lot more expensive than Hostgator once the first billing cycle is up. Many customers have complained about “bill shock” with SiteGround when they suddenly get a higher than expected charge when the discounts wear off.

Verdict: Despite deep discounts, SiteGround can’t complete with Hostgator in price. Hostgator is cheaper, has more coupon codes, and offers a lot of variety in the ways you can claim discounts.

Winner: Hostgator

Difference 2: Value Additions, Hostgator vs SiteGround

Where SiteGround shines in comparison to Hostgator is the additional value it provides apart from mere hosting. Here are a few additional features that SiteGround offers:

  1. Daily backups + free restore
  2. Site staging
  3. Dynamic server caching
  4. “Hive” isolation from other accounts on the shared server
  5. “Railgun” optimization with Cloudflare

The daily backup and restore functionality alone, is a massive value addition. With it, there’s no need for 3rd party backup solutions with Siteground. If you had to purchase this feature by itself, it would cost more than what you save by choosing Hostgator for shared hosting!

SiteGround’s tiered caching system also speeds up your site so that you don’t need to implement slow caching plugins. However, this is only available from the GrowBig plan and isn’t offered on the cheapest StartUp package from SiteGround.

Hostgator, on the other hand, is pretty bare bones shared hosting. They have a lot of features on their WordPress hosting packages, but nothing much for shared hosting. The one special feature would be the unlimited disk space on their hosting plans. They achieve this by using HDD drives instead of SSD. So if you need a lot of storage on a basic shared hosting plan, Hostgator is a better choice.

Verdict: All in all, SiteGround really shines through when it comes to value additions. It more than makes up for the higher price. And that’s not counting the customer service which I review below.

Winner: SiteGround

Difference 3: Add-on Packages

Related to value-added features, add-on packages are additional paid services offered by a web host in addition to hosting. For example, all hosts offer domain privacy on the WHOIS database.

Hostgator has quite a few additional packages that you can purchase with shared hosting. For example, their SEO package allows you to track basic keywords and pages. I wouldn’t really recommend it though, as you can get the same stuff for free on my other sites. Another Hostgator add-on is CodeGuard. Since there’s no automatic backup and restore like with SiteGround, you probably need a separate solution to take care of that. CodeGuard gets the job done nicely.

SiteGround however, doesn’t offer much in the way of add-ons. They only thing they have is the SG site scanner which will notify you if your site has been hacked as shown here:

SiteGround SG Site Scanner
SiteGround SG Site Scanner

Verdict: If you need more than just plain hosting and want to integrate it with other services like CodeGuard and SiteLock, Hostgator has those available as add-on packages. SiteGround has none of these.

Winner: Hostgator

Difference 4: Customer Service

Customer service is the most expensive part of running a hosting business. The problem is scaling. Powerful hardware can handle new customers without any increased marginal costs. But hiring and training technically qualified staff to deal with a lot of customers is hard.

SiteGround prides itself on its customer service. They make it a point to hire more-than-usually-qualified staff to deal with tickets and e-mails. I’ve personally been using SiteGround since 2013, and the response times and service is amazing. Recently, SiteGround improved on its customer service packages to let GoGeek users have access to priority customer support which is usually reserved for their cloud and dedicated server offerings.

Hostgator’s customer service is about what you would expect from a popular web host. It’s neither particularly good, nor particularly bad. There are lots of bad reviews of Hostgator customer service out there, but that’s simply a function of how many clients they have. While they don’t have have the sophisticated customer service of SiteGround, it’s nothing horrible.

Verdict: While Hostgator’s customer service is “normal”, SiteGround goes over and above. This is obvious in their hiring decisions, and the effort they put into training and recognizing the achievements of their staff.

Winner: SiteGround

Bottom Line

Hostgator is great for basic hosting without complications. It also has unlimited disk space which is valuable for some people. SiteGround focuses on value additions and customer service. It’s more expensive, but it’s worth it if you’re a growing business and looking for peace of mind.

About Bhagwad Park

I've been writing about web hosting and WordPress tutorials since 2008. I also create tutorials on Linux server administration, and have a ton of experience with web hosting products. Contact me via e-mail!

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